One piece of gear a lot of sailor don’t really think about that stay in a marina most of the time is their anchoring system. This becomes one of the most important single pieces of gear, or systems of gear as it is for any full time cruiser who doesn’t plan on spending much time in a marina. Because of this, this topic often turns to religion very quickly when you start talking about it. Everyone has their own ideas, and it is hard to do real scientific testing of different gear since there are so many different variables.
The CQR that was on Piko before is still a pretty good anchor, but this is a design that comes from the era of WWII and we have figured out a few things since then that makes modern anchors more effective. I also wanted to go up a size as well. Rocna already basis their sizing for real work cases of around 50kts of wind and associated seas. Using these, the 15kg, or 33 pound version is the correct size for Piko. Knowing that we might be weathering a storm or two over our cruise, we decided to go with the 20kg or 44 lb version after talking with a Rocna rep at the Seattle Boat show.
We also decided to replace the existing chain we have on Piko. When we bought the boat, she came with 60 feet of 3/8″ G30 chain. This chain has a SWL of around 3k lbs, but weights about 1.6 lbs per foot. This chain has been totally adequate for everything we have done around the Pacific NW, with the addition of 250′ of plait anchor line. In more serious conditions, or areas that have a higher chance of chafe such as reefs, more chain is almost always advised.
We now have 250 of 5/16″ HT G40 chain. This is smaller, weighs in at about 2/3s the weight of the 3/8″ chain, but is actually stronger! We went with ACCO chain, which is one of the better manufacturers out there. I have heard a few horror stories of people buying cheap Chinese chain and having it die prematurely. I like to save money, but there are also times when it pays to do it right the first time.
After having the joy of loading a ton, well not actually a ton, but it felt like it, of chain from the loading dock at Fisheries Supply in Seattle into my Honda, and then getting it back out of the car to the dock, I was ready for a beer! I ended up laying out the chain in 30′ lengths so I could paint a section of the chain so we could track out how much we have deployed. In addition to the painted sections, I also have had good luck with small vinyl length markers you can put on the chain as well, so we will have both systems. Here you can see the chain all laid out and the painted markers. I decided to try to put almost all of my weight in my primary anchor, since from talking to people, you rarely every deploy the secondary. I am going to keep the CQR for this purpose, with a smaller amount of chain, and then have a smaller fortress as a third anchor which is easy to use to kedge, or to deploy from the stern,
Then it was pretty simple. Remove the old anchor and chain, and install the new. I did have to replace the chain gypsy on my Lofrans windless in the process though since they are specific to the size and grade of chain you are using. I still have to remove to bolts that held the chain scraper in place on the windless though since 20 years of corrosion and stainless hardware in an aluminum frame did not allow their easy removal.
Here you can see the chain being attached to the anchor. I ended up using a single wichard load rated stainless shackle here instead of one of the cheaper galvanized ones you often times see. the galvanized versions almost always has a much lower working load than either the chain or the anchor and I felt using a single stronger piece here was prudent, even if it is from a slightly dissimilar metal. Worse case I can always remove the end link of the chain if I notice any wear. You can also see the monel seizing wire holding the pin in place, even though this is a locking shackle that should not open on its own
I still have to have a striker plate made for the bow though, because as the anchor is now, the tip can make contact with the bow and I don’t want it doing any damage there. I might think about modifying the anchor roller a well to accommodate everything as well as we go forward. I did notice that if I lower the shank of the anchor all the way to the chain locker cover, the anchor fits much better. Too bad I don’t think the locker cover is string enough to actually hold the anchor in place in a seaway.
I also am going to have to work out a different way to attach the tack line for my assymetrical spinnaker because of the roll bar on the Rocna. Here is what the inside of the locker looks like with a little over 500′ of rode.